It’s a no-brainer that a good night’s sleep is important. This is what we learn from an early age. Not for nothing that babies sleep like every couple of hours. Or that in some cultures an afternoon nap or siesta is not unusual.
What we often forget is that good sleep has a direct relation to stress. Not only that our sleep is worse when you are stressed, but we also experience more stress if we haven’t slept well. So there is a direct relation in both directions which thus has the potential to become a vicious circle.
Even though we know that sleep is essential, this doesn’t help if your sleep deficit it’s not only due to too few hours. Quite often stress is one of the reasons why people do not get a good night’s sleep.
Different types of bad sleep
Not all bad sleep is the same. Some people have difficulties falling asleep. Others wake up several times during the night or very early. And then there is people thinking their whole day through, whether it’s the day that lies behind or the day ahead. Also physical issues as night sweat might be why people wake up. Others wake up in the morning and have the idea that they haven’t slept at all, as tired as they are.
It’s important to check with your doctor if there are no physical reasons why you experience bad sleep. When you always wake up at approximately the same time during the night, a physical issue might be the cause.
Poor sleep related to stress
If the likeliness is big that your sleep relates to stress, there are various ways to improve your sleep.
Having a schedule is key when it comes down to poor sleep. People with sleeping issues have the tendency to have an irregular cycle.
Don’t go late to bed even though your body or mind is still active late in the evening. Don’t sleep in during the weekend thinking you have to compensate for the week. Sleep can never be compensated. Make sure you train your body and mind to get used to a regular schedule. Going to bed even though you don’t feel sleepy yet trains your body and mind to know “it’s bedtime”.
Every now and then we have moments when we were very busy before going to bed. Make sure that you have a transition time between that business and your bedtime. Don’t unwind in your bed but do that before you go to bed.
Light and early eating/drinking
Avoid eating heavy foods and drinking alcohol for at least 3 hours before you go to bed. They are a burden on your liver, stomach, and intestines. Ideally, have a light meal in the early evening. Also good to know that drinking coffee after 12:00 am is said to have an influence on your sleep.
Even though we all have heard about the “don’t use devices with blue light before you go to bed”, it’s difficult to do so. Watching tv or checking your phone – we all do it, whether it’s dark or not outside. Blue light makes our brain and body think that it’s still light outside, too early to sleep. Get some blue-light-blocking glasses and you don’t interrupt your natural sleeping patterns.
Use breathing patterns to unwind and fall asleep. Breathing calms your nervous system. Exhale fully before you start with the first cycle. Inhale to the count of 4, then pause to the count of 7, exhale with a “whoosh” sound to the count of 8. Repeat for at least 5 cycles.
Yoga and meditation
There are activities relaxing your brain as much as sleeping. That’s an ideal way to tell your brain to stop with its chatter. Also going for a stroll help to calm your mind, though not as well as with yoga or meditation.
If there are things that bother you, use EFT or tapping to free up your mind. Within minutes you can let go of them. Also, you can use this technique to improve your sleep in general.
Sleep can be improved by natural supplements such as magnesium, valerian, glycine, or others. Make sure you check with a health practitioner beforehand.
Smelling passes the barrier of the brain nearly instantly. Having a diffuser with calming oils or even some drops of oils on your pillow can do wonders. Lavender or Bergamot oil for example are very suitable for this.
CBD, which contains parts of marijuana and hemp, doesn’t get you high but might take the edge off.
The juice of tart cherry is said to be very beneficial for better sleep. Make sure you have the right cherry since no others do the job.